The NFL world is a small one, and familiar faces can be found on almost any club's roster with the frequent turnover of players and coaching staff from season to season. In Week 4, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy is preparing for a team now led by former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. The last time Purdy went toe-to-toe with a Gannon-schemed defense was in late January during the 49ers 2022 NFC Championship Game appearance. That contest is the only matchup Purdy's lost since being named San Francisco's starter in Week 14 of last season.
"Obviously, (he's) the same play caller and scheme, but the personnel is different the way they call plays can be a little bit different than Philly," Purdy said. "But, there are some similar things within the scheme that we had game planned for last year in the playoffs. At the same time, man, it's like they've got different players and their style is a little bit different compared to Philly."
Gannon was hired to be the Arizona Cardinals head coach in the offseason and is fresh off his first-career win with his team's 26-18 upset of the Dallas Cowboys. Even in the team's two losses of the year, the Cardinals have shown promise, taking a lead into the fourth quarter versus the Washington Commanders in Week 1 and the New York Giants in Week 2.
The difference for Arizona in Week 3 was a productive rushing attack and some stout red zone defense headlined by a critical fourth quarter interception of Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott inside Arizona's 10 yard line. The Cardinals allowed just one touchdown and held Prescott to 78.0 passer rating.
Purdy isn't prepping for a heavy blitz from the Cardinals like what he saw from the Giants, but given their recent success, expects to see a solid defensive showing from Arizona.
"They do show some pressures in certain scenarios... It is different than all the pressures from last week, but still it's going to be a solid defense," Purdy said. "What they do, they do it well. They're consistent in what they do, and they're very well coached. It's a new challenge."
While Arizona's defense may be flying high into Levi's® Stadium on Sunday, Purdy's riding an interception-free 190-pass attempt streak dating back to Week 17 of the 2022 season. It's not necessarily the streak that matters most to the sophomore quarterback, but rather what it means for his team.
"I want to help my team win at the end of the day and that comes down to the decisions that I make," Purdy said. "I get the ball every single play whether I'm handing it off or throwing it. Anytime I'm dropping back, and I have to make a decision with the ball in my hands, of course I pride myself on not harming our team.
"That just comes down to trying to be selfless, making the right decisions, being prepared for situations and scenarios and obviously giving our guys on offense a shot to catch the ball and obviously run to put up points."
With ball security often being the deciding factor in ball games, Purdy is hoping to clean up some minor mix-ups from the previous couple contests.
"It's as simple as Jake Brendel and I not being on the same page, not communicating well in the huddle with when we're snapping the ball," Purdy said. "That's just all it has been those two plays that we've had in the last two games. That's something that I need to do a better job with communicating and making sure we're on the same page. Both of those times we just weren't, so that's all it is."